This is just the conservative Ends Justify The Means approach that makes them so difficult to deal with. Reagan and his election team was similarly treasonous with regard to the hostages in Iran. His team was in contact with the Iranians holding the hostages and convinced them to hold out until Reagan was in office.
I do not think this is precisely a conservative problem at all.
This has been an American problem:
Dropping of the atomic bomb. (Liberal)
The project Ajax coup (Conservative)
Bay of Pigs, Diem coup (Liberal)
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (Liberal)
Nixon’s election shenanigans, Allende overthrow, Pakistan, etc (Conservative)
Iran Hostage, Iran Contra (Conservative)
WMD, Yellow Cake (Conservative)
Reneging on Guantanamo, expansion of the Drone Assassination / Collateral damage program (Liberal)
All of these forsake classical argument of rule of law principles for an utilitarian framework of right or wrong that at its worst appears to be hypocritical variations of the “end justifies the means.”
I think you missed my point. We’re talking about treasonous acts, meaning harm done against one’s own country to further one’s own ends. Atomic bomb, Bay of Pigs, Gulf of Tonkin (maybe) and Guatanamo don’t count in that regard. The only one that comes to mind for “liberal” might be DOMA under Clinton, but I’m not sure Clinton even counts as a liberal. Obama either..both are basically center Republicans (based on actions, not speeches).
Perhaps I misunderstood you, but I thought by your statement “This is just the conservative Ends Justify The Means approach that makes them so difficult to deal with.” you were making a general statement that conservatives as opposed to liberals are willing to sacrifice principles in specific cases if it serves their idea of “protection of our nation.” All cases I mentioned are examples of the post WW II America willing to sacrifice long standing American legal or constitutional principles in a specific instance to further their particular agenda, and then justified because of the greater good that supposedly comes out of it.
Nixon and Reagan would both argue that the breaking of principle in 1968 and 1980 was a small sacrifice for the greater good that they believed their presidencies would bring to the nation. They would argue using a utilitarian (end justifies the means) approach to say what they did was far from treasonous, but deeply patriotic and ultimately heroic. Ends justifies the means while breaking our lawful principles. I think we both agree on that.
However I see little substantial difference between those actions and:
Atomic Bombs- breaks our longstanding principles of international rule of law in which we make a distinction between military and civilian in times of war, and then consider it a principle to never target civilians. Dropping the bombs clearly targeted civilians- Stimson and Truman acknowledged as much. They defended it on the grounds that in this one case we can make an exception because it is likely to create a political reality that is in the interest of the nation, (and for Japan’s own good as well.) Ends justifies the means while breaking our lawful principles.
Diem Coup- JFK utilizing covert operations to remove a leader of an ally at war against all conventions of international diplomacy in order to get a more agreeable political climate in Vietnam is a disastrous action that shudders the foundations of our democracy as much as Nixon/Reagan’s actions did. Ends justifies the means while breaking our lawful principles.
Tonkin- falsely presenting data in an exaggerated way to create an emotional response that allows for a resolution that reinvents the war making power in a way absolutely at odds with constitutional design. Ends justifies the means while breaking our lawful principles.
Drone strikes on US citizens overseas without a trial or jurisdiction- let me count the ways. Ends justifies the means while breaking our lawful principles.
We are still reaping the “false flag conspiracy” fruits of real actions such as these that have each contributed to the weakening of our nation and- the aid and comfort of our enemies.
Incidentally, I do not challenge either your point that Clinton/Obama are essentially moderate conservatives. However, if you can not consider LBJ, JFK and Truman as liberal, then I am not sure what you mean by conservative.
If your statement “This is just the conservative Ends Justify The Means approach that makes them so difficult to deal with.” is not meant to imply that conservatives operate under a different ethical framework than liberals, what exactly do you mean by it?